“The future is unset and the end is always near.”–Jim Morrison
News people often refer to Friday as trash day. It is the day when government agencies and other entities release the news they really don’t want you to focus on. I’m not a news guy. I guess you could call me a commentary guy, but even then it is an unpaid position. All that being said, today is a decent enough day to look at the past week and sweep up all the missing pieces.
The Texas state legislature and Governor Abbott have decided to abandon conservative principles, but then again what else is new? The mask has become the symbol for ideological warfare in America. There are all kinds of idiots out there, so there is little time to address them all. Suffice it to say, anyone that treats a mask as anything more than a piece of cloth or fabric is an idiot.
Enter Greg Abbott. The new law makes it illegal for a school or government building to require masks after June 4th. Considering the increasing rates of vaccinations and reducing positive rates it makes some sense on its face. Most adults are now fully vaccinated. So, there’s that.
The problem is two-fold. One of the problems exists on a philosophical level. Conservatives have been crying for generations about how much national and state governments have exercised too much control over local governments and the people. So, here the state government is barring the local governments and school districts from exercising local control. Does anyone else see the problem here?
The move at least follows a pattern with Abbott and the legislature throughout the pandemic. He is anything but consistent. From the beginning he has refused to lead in any positive way to limit the spread of the virus. He prefers to let local entities do the work. That would be fine except that whenever a local entity acts responsibly and safely he tells them they’re doing it wrong. This is another one of those instances.
The second problem is that while adults are getting vaccinated, children are not. Children under 12 cannot be vaccinated and those over 12 have just started. The good news is that by June 4th, most students and teachers will be home for the summer. Yet, there will still be summer school and who knows how many students will be vaccinated by August.
It is quite possible to overreact to something like this. For one thing, it is highly possible that most school districts would have reached this conclusion on their own. After all, the order doesn’t say you can’t wear masks. It just says that you can’t require it. However, some districts likely would have maintained the mask order if left to their own devices.
It also brings us back to the original point about masks. They have become a political symbol. I usually still wear one in public even though I am vaccinated. We have to wear one at work and it is just easier to do it rather than have to remember which places allow you to go without and which ones don’t. I increasingly get dirty looks in public because people automatically make an assumption about my politics based on my adherence to wearing a mask.
In this case they would be right, but that’s not really the point. The point is that a public safety measure shouldn’t be the flashpoint for a political debate. That’s true whether you look down at someone for wearing a mask or make fun of someone for not. Either way you are turning a piece of cloth or fabric into something it was never intended to be,